As expected, a lot of new faces have been appointed to the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which is going to start a new five-year term in March this year.
However, what truly deserves attention about this new list of Hong Kong representatives to China’s top political advisory body is that many of the names — such as former Executive Councilor Cheung Chi-kong, former lawmakers Kaizer Lau Ping-cheung and Tony Tse Wai-chuen, as well as former Secretary for Food and Health Dr. Ko Wing-man — are all either staunch supporters or political allies of former chief executive Leung Chun-ying.
Over the years, decisions on who are granted CPPCC membership have been widely seen as an indication of Beijing’s preference and liking for certain particular blocs in the pro-establishment camp in Hong Kong when it comes to key personnel appointments.
Now, a number of new faces who have been appointed to the CPPCC national committee are Leung’s good friends and allies, or the so-called “Leung fans”.
A seasoned CPPCC member has referred to the latest membership list as a “great triumph” for the “Leung camp”. We can only speculate as to whether Leung’s triumph was the result of his intense behind-the-scenes lobbying or whether it was just a form of “consolation prize” given by Beijing in return for his willingness not to seek re-election as chief executive.
The seasoned CPCC member, however, believes that Leung, as the incumbent vice chairman of the CPPCC national committee, still has substantial influence with the Beijing leadership.
On the other hand, even though Beijing had ordered the lowering of the maximum age of CPPCC delegates from 70 to 68, under which those who are aged 68 or above must step down, some high-profile figures were exempt from mandatory retirement this time.
For example, former chief executive and the incumbent vice chairman of the CPPCC national committee Tung Chee-hwa, members of the CPPCC national committee Charles Ho Tsu-kwok and Chau On Tat-yuen, all of whom are already aged 68 or above, have been allowed to serve another term.
In particular, the 70-year-old new face Dr. Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, former director-general of the World Health Organization, has been recommended by Beijing to become a new CPPCC national committee member.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Jan 26
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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